University or the trades? Diploma or degree? Workplace training or classroom learning?
Once you've identified a career direction and the education and training you need to make it a reality, your next step is to explore schools and programs.
With over 2,000 post–secondary programs accredited and recognized in Alberta, you have many choices.
- Search for post–secondary training and programs in Alberta.
- Learn about apprenticeship programs.
- Find out about distance education options and making distance learning work for you.
- Search for schools and programs outside Alberta.
Which post–secondary schools should I attend?
When similar education or training programs are offered by different institutions, how do you know which program would be best for you?
The following tips can help you make sure that the certificate, diploma or degree you earn will be one employers respect. They can also help you choose a post–secondary school that will provide the type of learning environment in which you learn best.
- The most important thing you need to know is why you want to take an education or training program. What is your goal? If you know where you want the training to take you, it is much easier to decide which program will get you there.
- Make sure you are aware of all the education and training programs that might fill your needs. Find out if there are less formal methods of acquiring the knowledge and skills you are looking for. For example, on–the–job training or distance education courses might suit your situation better than full–time classroom–based learning.
- Once you've identified programs that could get you started in the direction you want to go, you'll probably have a number of questions about those programs.
- What are the application deadlines?
- What are the entrance requirements?
- Is your chosen program a “quota program” with limited enrolment? If so, what grades are generally required to gain admission?
- Does the program start in September? Or are there other possible entry dates?
- Does the program include a work experience component? If so, is it volunteer work or are students paid for their work? Who is responsible for arranging the work experience?
- What percentage of graduates find related employment?
- How much do tuition, books and supplies cost?
The best source of information about a particular program is the institution that offers the program. You can contact post–secondary institutions directly and request print materials, or look for the information you need on their websites.
If you don't have easy access to the Internet, check out the career counselling offices and libraries in your area. Collections of post–secondary institution calendars can be found in Alberta Works Centres located throughout the province.
- Use print or Internet resources to gather some basic information about your program options. Once you’ve done that, it’s a good idea to talk to people connected with each program. Good people to talk to include the following:
- program instructors
- representatives of applicable professional associations or licensing bodies
- employers who are likely to hire program graduates
- program graduates themselves
Finding and contacting these people may take some determined networking, but it’s well worth the effort. For example, if employers tell you they prefer to hire graduates of a different program, that’s definitely something you want to know before you enroll
- Your choice of institution may be influenced by any or all of the following considerations:
- location (how close it is to your home)
- size (whether you prefer the learning environment at a smaller or larger institution)
- type of institution (for example, religious affiliation)
- the institution’s academic reputation in your subject field
- costs (for example, tuition, books and accommodation)
- the type of student services and facilities offered (for example, counselling services and housing)
Most post–secondary institutions have open houses or information sessions. These are a great opportunity to look around the campus, experience the learning environment, ask about program content and find out what student life is like.
You’ll need to find out whether your courses or programs are transferable between post–secondary institutions and what transfer credit you may be awarded. Use the online Search Tool to access transfer information and summaries of institutions’ transfer agreements.
- Phone: 780–422–9021 in Edmonton. Or call 310–0000 toll–free and enter the 10 digit telephone number. Deaf or hard of hearing callers with TTD/TTY units can call 780–427–9999 or 1–800–232–7215 toll–free.
- Fax: 780–422–3688
- Email: acat.gov.ab.ca
Choose the post–secondary program that’s right for you
It’s important to understand your education options. By comparing post–secondary institutions and the programs they offer, you can find the learning environment and program that is right for you.